Johnny Depp and guitarist Jeff Beck have been charged with plagiarism after copying the lyrics of a poem called ‘Hobo Ben’, to be used in the single, ‘Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade’, from their new album ’18’, by a man named Slim Wilson, who would have served a prison sentence for an armed robbery in 1974.
According to information from Rolling Stone magazine, ‘Hobo Ben’ is black folk poetry, which was documented in the book ‘Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me’, by the American folklorist Bruce Jackson, who would have known the author. The book also contains texts written by other prisoners.
The song contains lines similar to those written by Slim Wilson, such as: “Ladies of culture and beauty so refined, is there any among you who grant me wine? I am tattered, I know, but I have no bad smell, and may God bless the lady who will invite me for a drink.” Later he continues, “Hattie, with wide hips, turned to Nadine with a laugh and said, ‘What that son of pu.. funky really needs, girl, it’s a bathroom.'”
The theme of the Hollywood star and Beck also uses the phrases: “I’m tattered, I know, but I don’t have a bad smell”, “God bless the lady who will buy me a drink” and “What that son of pu… funky really needs, girl, it’s a bathroom.”
Bruce Jackson told the publication that in all the lines of the duo’s song, he only found two original phrases, while the rest were entirely Bruce’s.
“Everything else is from Slim’s performance in my book. I’ve never come across anything like this. I’ve been publishing things for 50 years and this is the first time anyone has copied something and given it their own name,” the writer warned.
As revealed by the magazine, the song does not give the credits to Slim Wilson or, in any case, to Jackson.
So far, neither of the two interpreters accused of plagiarism has responded to the claims.